We ran a Life Processes session for the third grade a couple of weeks ago. This is the second time I have run this session. It certainly went better this year than last. Here is the relevant section of the third grade standards requirements for Virginia:
The student will investigate and understand that behavioral and physical adaptations allow animals to respond to life needs. Key concepts include
a) methods of gathering and storing food, finding shelter, defending themselves, and rearing young; and
b) hibernation, migration, camouflage, mimicry, instinct, and learned behavior.
We had the kids divided into groups of four. Each group was then given an assigned "beak". The beaks included: fork, spoon, chop sticks, toothpick, water dropper, and a straw. For the first part of the activity, the kids were directed to come one person per team at a time and get one piece of food. They were not to try and spend much time, but come up, get the food, and "fly back to their nest" with it. Each team member had a chance to go.
We then discussed how things went and they were to try and decide what kind of bird their beak might represent. The general consensus was:
fork: water bird such as a spoonbill or flamingo that filters its food
spoon: water bird that scoops its food such as a duck
chop sticks: can be various birds such as a crow, blue jay, etc.
toothpick: small bird such as a small woodpecker or nuthatch
straw: not a very effective beak, no real correlation
water dropper: hummingbird
We then talked a little about how beaks were adapted for specific environments. Next, we gave the kids an opportunity to design their own beaks. They could select from the materials provided in the first activity, plus they could use rubber bands.